"Oh my gosh! What happened last night?!" Leila asks me
Slamming my locker door and turning my attention to her, in a hushed voice I say "It's gotten worse."
"What?" she asks in bewilderment, her grey eyes sparkling
"Jake!" tears began to form in my eyes "Jake..." I swallow the huge lump in my throat "The tumors have grown..."
Leila grows quiet and all that sits between us is the fading summer wind coming from a draft, gently blowing her blonde hair back
She puts a sympathetic hand on my shoulder "Sierra, I am so, so sorry...I...I don't know what to say."
"Then don't." I say, a little bit of anger arousing in my voice
"Huh?" Leila innocently asks
"Then just don't say anything...for once in your life you actually don't speak."
"What? Look...I'm sorry for what has happened to Jake" she puts a heartfelt hand on her chest, taking it off my shoulder "But I can't control that! And look at me! I'm just trying to help! I know what has happened is terrible, but worse has happened to me!" A tear strolls down her cheek and she turns on her heel, walking very fast away from me.
"Wait! Leila...I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like-"
She just keeps walking down the hall and silently cuts me off by raising her hand.
"Just don't even talk to me!" she says without turning around
I feel terrible...my brother is not getting any healthier, and I just upset my best friend.
I forcefully kick my locker.
"What is wrong with me!" I scream
A few people look at me awkwardly as they walk by. I just clear my throat and tuck a loose strand of hair behind my ear, and make my way to first period.
Tap tap tap tap... I annoyingly tap my pencil on my wooden desk in Mrs. Steenburgan's class. My test lies in front of me, completely blank except for my lonely name printed in the top right hand corner. I attempted question one, but my mind went blank at the sight of numbers and expressions. There is no room left for schoolwork between my brother's sickness and my bestfriend's anger towards me nawing at my brain.
I shouldn't have been so harsh towards Leila! She was just being a good friend, feeling sympathy for my brother's sickness. But because I can't take a hint, or control my emotions, I snapped at her like that! She didn't deserve that! After all, she has had a harder life than mine. I mean, her dad left when she was only seven, and then her grandmother developed a sickness and passed just five weeks later...
And Jake! What am I going to do about him?! Why can't we just trade places! He's a great person who does not deserve this. That kid, I swear, he brakes my heart just thinking about him...
I look over to find Leila staring at me. We make eye contact and she snaps her head back to focusing on her test.
I wonder if she feels guilty... Wait? Why would save feel guilty?! I'M the one who shouldn't have been so harsh!
The stupid bell rings and Mrs. Steenbugan's blunt voice rings through my ears.
"Alright children, tests please. Times up! Whatever you did not finish is going to be marked wrong." Mrs Steenburgan warns
I watch Leila hurriedly walk up to Mrs. Steenburgan's desk to turn in her test and I blankly watch her scurry out of the room.
Man, I've really done it this time! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
As everyone files out of the room in a hurry to lunch, I sit at my desk and patiently wait for the crowd to diminish.
"Sierra? Do you plan on turning in your test in the near future?" Mrs. Steenburgan inquires, interrupting my thoughts.
"Oh yah, sorry about that." I shamefully reply
I cautiously walk up to Mrs. Steenburgan who is standing in front of her desk. She clears her voice as I hand her my blank test. I hurriedly walk out of her room. I can see through my peripheral vision that she is upsettingly flipping through my test packet. Just as I am about to exit her classroom, once again, I am stopped by that cold, shallow German accent of hers. My stomach cringes at the thought of one more worry on my plate.
"Ummmm...Sierra? You're a smart girl, would you like to explain to me why your test is blank?" She hoarstly asks
"Uhhh...not really." I reply as I turn on my heel and try to make a dash for it.
"Sierra!" She calls before I am able to get two feet from the exit of her room. I shamelessly turn back around and stand a mere inch from the entry of her classroom. "It was more of a rhetorical question..." She suggests, looking through the rim of her glasses positioned at the tip of her nose.
I hesitate for a second, unwilling to tell this hateful lady the real reason why I left my test blank, but from experience, I learn that one time telling the truth is 110% better than one time telling a lie.
I sigh, unprepared to reveal my hidden life to a grumpy teacher. "You see," I begin, "my brother has had lung cancer for quite some time now, and last night I was told that it had gotten worse, and just to make my day better, I made my best friend mad through a touchy subject tha should have never been brought up..."
Mrs. Steenburgan nods, processing the information as if she too, has been through it all before.
After a minute of awkward silence, she finally pipes up.
"Sierra, don't think I am favoring you or anything, but would you maybe like to take your test another day? Maybe when things have cooled down, or at least gotten better?" She half smiles
I can't believe my ears! Two days in a row of Mrs. Steenburgan showing kindness towards me?! I need to write this down before I forget it!
"Thank you so much Mrs. Steenburgan, I would greatly appreciate that." I politely respond
"You're welcome Sierra, now head on to lunch before they shut the lunch line down."
I smile a wide smile at her and turn on my heel and head out the door. At least one things has gone right today.
After grabbing a simple red apple out of the lunch line just to still time, I build my confidence up and head over to the quiet table where my friends sit, well, minus Nikki.
I pull my chair out and quietly sit down in my usual spot, next to Leila. Leila doesn't give me a second glance to acknowledge my presence and Christy and Jenna are obviously too engrossed in their usual rhotuines to acknowledge me either.
I slightly peek at Leila to see that she is mournfully poking at a sad case of refried beans. I really, really upset her...
I look at her, then my apple, then back at her again, wandering if I should speak up and apologize for my uncalled for behavior this morning.
And then I do speak up.
"Leila, can I talk to you?" I begin "I made a huge mistake snapping at you like that, I mean, all you were doing is trying to be a good friend and i-"
"No Sierra, there's no need to apologize, after all, if I was such a good friend,I would have understood your pain and let it slip off of my shoulder. I didn't need you to start feeling sorry for me when you already had enough on your plate." Leila appolegetically stated
"I know but I shouldn't of snapped at you like-" I tried to protest
"No Sierra, seriously, there's no need to apologize...why don't we just drop that segment feom our life and move on like that never happened? Deal?" She smiled
I couldn't believe how great of a sport she was being when it shouldn't have been her apologizing, but learning from experience I knew I wouldn't win this battle, so I gratefully let is slide off of my shoulder.
"Deal." I smiled